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Talks and Displays

Fire safety awareness displays and talks within the community are available throughout the Isle of Wight. Talks are normally at the request of community groups or organisations.

Displays will be set up in prominent places within the workplace, at large retail stores and at shows and fetes. Information will be displayed relating to various fire safety themes, smoke alarms, planning escape from fire, arson, electrical safety, safety with candles, firework safety and cigarette safety. All of these themes are available to download from this web site or leaflets are available from the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service.

Fat Pan Demonstration Unit

Photograph of The Fat Pan Demonstration Unit

The Fat Pan Demonstration Unit is used at various locations throughout the Isle of Wight. The unit has been designed to show people the extreme dangers people face if they encounter such a fire. If inappropriate action is taken when such a fire occurs there can be severe consequences. The majority of injuries happen when people apply water onto the burning fat or oil. This actually produces an ‘explosive’ effect, with the boiling liquid coming out of the container/pan in the form of a ‘fire ball’. This explosive action helps the flames to spread to other areas and engulfs anyone nearby with flames and burning liquid. Injuries from such a fire are often quite horrific.

The fire service advise people if faced with this type of fire to get out of the house and call the fire service. We demonstrate this ‘explosive’ action using the Fat Pan Demonstration Unit. By far the best method of dealing with such a fire would be to turn off the heat source and then by covering/smothering the flames, water should ‘never’ be used. Although we advise people against tackling this type of fire, we know that some people will attempt to do this. It is important therefore that the dangers are made clear to them.

Photograph of The Fat Pan Demonstration Unit

This is Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Services Fat Pan Demonstration Unit. It is towed to events by the Community Safety support vehicle. In addition to showing how fat pan fires start and the dangers they present, the unit also has a locker that identifies common ‘kitchen appliance faults’.


The unit is used at large public festivals, fetes and when requested by groups or organisations to help educate people of such dangers.

A small quantity of oil or fat is heated in a pan. We  also demonstrate that by allowing the oil to ‘over heat’ it will ignite by itself, without a flame being applied directly to the oil or fat

Chip pan fire in progress

After 3-5 minutes of being heated the oil or fat produces large amounts of smoke and combustible gases.

Chip pan fire in progress

The oil or fat reaches its ignition temperature and spontaneously catches fire. With plenty of fuel (oil or fat) available to feed the flames, the fire builds in size and heat output. Temperatures will soon reach 800-1000 C above the fire at ceiling height. This would cause any fire to spread to the surrounding area such as cupboards or wall claddings. 

The worst possible thing to do with this type of fire is to add water in the hope of extinguishing the flames.

Chip pan fire in progressChip pan fire in progressChip pan fire in progress

The pictures above demonstrate what happens when a very small quantity of water is applied (less than ½ of a tea cup). The water instantly turns to steam and expands at the rate of 1700 times to one, i.e. its volume in steam is now 1700 times bigger than it was when it was in its liquid (water) form.

A large fire ball of burning oil or fat is then produced, often with explosive force and additionally the unburned gasses at ceiling height also ignite. At this point, anyone or anything near to the pan is caught up in the flames. Horrific injuries nearly always result from this type of fire incident.

We do not recommend that you tackle fires but rather close the kitchen door, leave the house and call the Fire and Rescue Service on 999.